Rather horrifyingly I last wrote something when I was in Sarajevo, which is a good few weeks ago. Intentions are clearly aspirational. It has been manic with university work, a hectic social life, and making the most of everything that friends in Split have suggested. This has included getting up close and personal with Split's aqueduct deep underground, meeting spelologists and historians, menu testing in extraordinary places, braving an introduction to deep sea diving, and helping my friend with wedding flowers. Not to mention karaoke and dancing til dawn most Friday nights, music on Saturdays, harmonica BBQs, meeting people for coffee, conversations with little fish whilst swimming, spontaneous walking and yoga with friends... and some very drunken jogging. Finally, the evening before last I was happy to join my lovely fellow students, and enjoy the sunset from Marjan as its farewell gift.
This Friday saw me dancing with definite tears in my eyes. This was not even the result of a local English man and his karaoke take on the Sex Pistols. There was now no way to avoid the constant companionship of time; the enemy of all hedonists. This would be my last spring dance as a resident of Split, and I wanted the night to last forever. Probably why I went home to change into my running stuff and hit the glorious beach path. On my way back I caught the now rarely empty morning sun-drenched town, and was deafened by the swifts. It is not a coincidence that summery Split saw the arrival of these birds, as well as many people. And something has definitely changed in the town. Perhaps it was the half naked group of Frenchman... Even my favourite dirty local club was quieter and more subdued as it's now competing with the many mushroom-like summer beach bars and clubs that have appeared recently. Change is a right pain at times!
And I was facing another mental and physical shift this week. Perhaps not as big as the one from London to here, but given I had company for that journey, it felt easier. A new place to live, in a completely new environment. No wonder I was unprepared yesterday; who'd want to leave wonderful neighbours and the flower filled sanctuary on Penića Ulica? I'd messed up my dates and thought I had until 1st June there. Still, who cares, it was an excuse to finish the orahovac languishing in the fridge. After moving all my belongings out yesterday, I crashed at a friend's last night and in a mental fug, went to bed.
The other coming change is the end of term. For the past three months university has been a lifeline of normality. Exams have been hideous but motivating. Since February, one by one, I've been letting go of structure, and after next week's finals I'm on my own, without mental scaffolding and discipline. Every weekend recently has been something new and required a certain determination to overcome physical fears. I'm damn sure now I prefer those over mental fears.
Today sees me thoughtful on a bus to Dubrovnik. From there I can catch my reasonably familiar ferry connection to Šipan and my new home. Earlier as I scooted down the Riva to the bus station with heavy baggage part 1, I was grateful for the cooler weather! It is strange that I'm now more anxious about this move from Split to Šipan because I've had my wildest dreams surpassed here, and it's hard to imagine how this summer can compete. As ever I remain open to every experience!
Speaking of which. The bus always stops in Neum in Bosnia and I was reliving memories of being stranded here a lifetime ago. Inevitably another service station, another proposition. What the heck is it with guys!? An elderly gentleman - perfect for the enigmatic one in London - has just offered his house, boat and car to me. Despite his age, he is in rude good health and in full physical working order. Apparently.
Travelling here is always an experience. Whether it is dark green and grey brooding mountains clad in mist, endless lush agricultural land, or towns with their own brand of brutalistic architecture, medieval spires, or as today, glimpses of rounded islands in a glassy sea...the landscape is spectacular. There is no rushing through this inaccessible part of the world; you get to your destination when it allows you. And as if to build anticipation, finally the dark wooded outline of the Elafiti Islands has emerged and they will accompany us all the way to Dubrovnik. And although my village of Sudarad was just visible, I won't arrive there until at least 9.30pm. It is now 5.30pm.
The island's dark mystery might help me answer a question. Everyone from the gentleman just now, to the beautiful waiter earlier, my lecturer, my friends, have been asking - what am I going to do here for 6 months and stay sane? Their certainty of my current - admittedly loose - grip on my sanity is heartening. But parts of me are actually looking forward to the less frenetic and constant distraction of town life. Split has been perfect; let's open the next chapter of this venture. And visits to friends and family!